Parenthood is often compared to a rollercoaster – ups, downs, exhilaration, twists, turns, and yes a fair amount of screaming! Despite the appreciated advice and caution around what to expect when it comes to exhaustion, development milestones, and the massive amounts of laundry such a little being can create, I found that when I was becoming a first time mom, some very crucial advice was mostly overlooked. I’m talking:
- How lonely and isolating new parenthood can be – yes, even pre-COVID, though I imagine those who entered this life stage during the pandemic felt this in more and different ways;
- How entering the mom club brings with it stress and concerns over career, relationships, and more; and
- How having a “mom tribe” can make a huge impact.
They say strength in numbers. They say it takes a village. “They” were onto something! Having a support system is so important throughout life, not least of all in parenting. For me, my mom tribe has included a few different groups:
- The inner circle – this is the text anytime, with any question, don’t even have to think about it crew. For me, this includes my sister, 2 sister-like cousins, and 3 of my oldest childhood friends. This might not be the best group to get outside perspectives, but this crew will pick you up when you need it, give you a straight-faced answer when you call panicked about the nose-dive your toddler just took off the couch, and be your always-there support system.
- Social media hive – there are a ton of social media groups out there focused on parents. I personally find these group settings too public for emotional support or vulnerable questions, though many people do find this in the right group. For me, these groups are great for crowdsourcing info on best kid products, activities if it’s a local group, and articles or content.
- Playdate moms – admittedly harder in Covid, but yes every once in a while it is good to get out and actually see someone face to face! These members of the tribe are great for letting mom and kiddo socialize. Don’t expect much real mom talk here – there are too many distractions and interruptions from the playing members of the playdate. But, these interactions let you know someone else has the same crazy schedule as you and that you are not alone on this parenting ride.
- Toucan – full disclaimer, I am one of the founders of the startup Toucan! Nevertheless, what Toucan is doing stemmed from my last 5 years in early parenting and a realization that we were missing something when it came to both mom support specifically, and peer support more generally. When you don’t have an inner circle or find they are not the right audience for all conversations; when you find social media to be too public and difficult to be heard; when your playdate connections serve a different purpose; Toucan is here to let people connect, 1:1, for audio conversations called Huddles centered around a shared category or life stage (ahem, parenting! relationships! career!). Toucan is filling an important gap, namely, peer-powered social support.
Jane Buescher is a mother of two and lives with her husband, daughters, and 13-year-old puppy in the Bay Area. She is the CEO and co-founder of The Toucan App which is on a mission to give everybody somebody to talk to! You can find Toucan here: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/the-toucan-app/id1523746430.